Response to Great White Whines
So sorry you’re perturbed
That your lunch was disturbed
by our chanting
in the hallowed halls of
the food court
Loud voices demanding change, laying down
bodies; a die-in to protest
killing of unarmed black men
We were faces of all shades
chanting in one voice:
“Black lives matter”
Indigestion? You had it coming
© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
ABC Wednesday, Q for Quandary… I am called white; Anglo; WASP, even, which stands for the ubiquitous White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant – and I stand with Black Lives Matter protesters. This is a natural extension of following Jesus, an enduring symbol of love at its best, embracing everyone as family. I admit I have a hard time embracing bigots; it’s my Christian learning curve.
White folks often cloak their racism in whitespeak, without realizing they are being offensive and ignorant. A good example was this true story above, where a white woman complained to other white women at JCPenney in my presence. She said, “They have the right to complain, but… do they have to use the food court? I had to try and explain what was happening to my granddaughter.” I replied, as evenly as I could, “I was one of the protesters. If you need help explaining it to her, let me know.” She was shocked.
She didn’t want my help. She merely wanted to bitch about being inconvenienced in the smallest of ways… some noise during her fast-food lunch. And she didn’t listen anyway, so I wonder what exactly she told her granddaughter. If she had listened, she would have understood that this was an organized, peaceful exercise of free-speech rights, planned in conjunction with mall security, who were informed by the group beforehand. We were protesting the recent killing of Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed young black man with schizophrenia who had gone off his meds and was killed by a white police officer who discharged 14 bullets. Wisconsin – America – has a race problem, and it’s up to all of us to solve it.
Other Great White Whines:
Why do “they” have to tie up traffic during rush hour? (They? Really? Let’s start there…)
Why aren’t “they” nice like Martin Luther, King? The same people would complain about Dr. King if he was still alive. In fact, they would whine about any public assembly that calls for accountability, when it’s the white race being called out for unthinking privilege.)
My quandary is that I’m a white civil rights advocate. Racists, beige like me, assume I will tolerate their whining, when in fact I don’t, bluntly. And, at first glance, people of color see me as “one of the crackers,” which I’m not.
Many thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt for starting ABC Wednesday, and special thanks to Roger and the ABC gang for keeping those letters rollin’! A great collective. Amy
May 6, 2015 at 11:40 am
Well said Amy x
May 6, 2015 at 12:42 pm
What strikes me is that this stuff is that it has certainly been going on for forever, but now there are cameras everywhere. I recently watched a documentary about the Kent State shootings in 1970, and was amazed to find out that only students were ever prosecuted in connection with it, for disturbing the peace, or some such. No Guardsmen nor any authority figure ever was charged with anything. That’s how these recent crimes would go, too, if it weren’t for cameras. What disturbs me as much as the unwarranted killings is the indifference shown by police afterward, as a man is dragged unable to walk, or lies dying on the grass. Seeing someone else as less than human seems to me to be at the root of nearly every evil.
May 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm
Preach. The ubiquity of social media and smartphones is bringing about accountablity, but what does it say about our criminal justice system that authorities used to get away with this crap time after time? I saw the Vietnam protest documentary on PBS – perhaps we were watching the same show at the same time? – and yes, I remembered the Kent State students were the only ones charged. Remember, that was the era of ZERO accountability. Police protected by the simply assumption that anyone who wore blue was a good and upright person.
Of course, we reap the sad salvage of that crop today. And the WORST part is that white America did nothing. Nothing during lynchings despite the framed photos of whites gathered (with kids, no less) for a photo op with the victims as they hung from treses.
NOTHING during slavery, and now there are ignorant people who claim that blacks were better off during slavery??!
My blood boils. I really let them off easy with this one, frankly. Amy
Sherry Blue Sky
May 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm
Nailed it! Totally.
Sherry Blue Sky
May 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm
Hey, cool new look, too!
May 6, 2015 at 2:08 pm
All the week I have been watching documentaries about the German concentrationcamps where so many gaschambers were working night and day. It is now 70 years ago that Auschwitz was liberated . Anne Frank’s father survived this camp. Bergen Belsen was one large killingfield, everywhere were naked bodies lying. There were thousands and thousands skeletons. It was disgusting and so terribly emotional. This was all due to racism. We can all become racists if are in difficult circumstances, but as a christian I have to remember that Jesus was a Jew and had nothing to do with white people. So if we follow him we must realise that we are really not such an important race.
Thanks for your visit. If you want to know the answers to my quiz , have a look at happywonderer’s comment. Hers are all correct.
Wil, ABCW team
May 6, 2015 at 4:12 pm
Excellent pithy, my dear. As a sociologist by training, and a Mexican by the grace of God, I have always been sensitized to the marginal player in society. However, since Trayvon Martin through Freddie Gray, I have become positively radicalized. I’m so tired of the notion of soft racism, and everyone’s a little racist. Perhaps, but everyone doesn’t wield power evenly. There is still institutional racism and the civil rights laws have just made them need to get more clever about it. You rock, Ameleh! Sending love as always, el Moskowitz
May 6, 2015 at 7:19 pm
Very strong resolve and very brave, Amelita! Nobody says it like you do! Let’s face it! What is ingrained in the system would take lots of unraveling. Fairness or rather unfairness is heavily stacked against the deprived and the weak (individually or as a group) Whatever legislation there is will not necessarily be the answer. It is basically an emotions thing that stabs right through their twisted minds. Even at this time and age the adverse feelings are still there but more personal in nature. It takes brave folks like you who untiringly push forward against all odds. Everyone of whatever color is certainly entitled to some rights. Keep the good flag flying!
May 6, 2015 at 7:22 pm
Btw Amelita, thanks for the tip. Hank will certainly give it a go. Hopefully it will solve the little hiccup! Have a nice day Ma’am!
May 6, 2015 at 8:54 pm
Love that last line…also enjoyed reading all the comments.
May 6, 2015 at 9:09 pm
May 6, 2015 at 10:19 pm
we will always disturb someone’s lunch or whatever if we stand up for what we think is right – glad you did amy
May 6, 2015 at 11:45 pm
Good for you. And for saying so in what sounded like a calm, reasonable voice. You’ll never know. You may have got her thinking.
The View from the Top of the Ladder
May 7, 2015 at 2:29 am
Yes a dilemma solving racial problems, especially in its component of social inequality.
a spirit of simplicity
May 7, 2015 at 9:03 am
I am having trouble with the “black lives matter” just as I have trouble with feminism and all the other things that separate us. It is my belief that until we figure out a way to realize that we are all one people there will always be division. And, division will always lead to whining at the lunch stands….not to mention racism, murder and hatred.
May 7, 2015 at 10:31 pm
I’m feeling oddly optimistic. More when I figure it out…
May 8, 2015 at 7:54 am
never be silenced my friend…your voice is bold and strong xo
May 8, 2015 at 7:55 am
Ps love the new blog style!
May 13, 2015 at 2:02 am
This is a great share. It makes me miss Madison greatly, Amy.
May 14, 2015 at 11:26 am
You really captured the climate and the indifference. It seems like we are moving bacwards.
Thomas M. Watt
May 23, 2015 at 10:22 pm
would you be interested in beta reading my manuscript before I release it? I would love to hear your perspective; I remember you used to be a copy editor. It’s ‘All right’ not ‘alright’, you told me. Let me know when you return to wordpress.
Hope all is well,